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Friday, September 16, 2016

One Cheese Ball - Four Great Ways

Almost like magic, this basic mixture can easily be modeled into four awe-inspiring shapes to fit any occasion. Turn the ordinary into the extraordinary!

2        packages (8 ounces each) cream cheese, softened
1        package (3 1/2 to 4 ounces) soft chèvre (goat) cheese
1        cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1/4     teaspoon white pepper
1/4     teaspoon garlic powder
1/8     teaspoon salt
  • 1 Beat all ingredients in medium bowl with electric mixer on medium-low speed until smooth.
  • 2 Shape mixture as directed in recipes below. Refrigerate until firm, at least 2 hours.
  • Christmas Pears:
  • Double the above recipe. Shape each cheese ball mixture into pear shape on waxed paper or plastic wrap. Wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate. Place pears in large shallow serving bowl or on platter. Spoon 1/4 cup whole berry cranberry sauce over one pear; spoon 1/4 cup chutney over other pear. (If desired, process chutney in blender or food processor until smooth.) Break 1 cinnamon stick crosswise in half; insert in each pear for stem. 
  •  Festive Bird’s Nest::
  •  Shape cheese ball mixture into ball. Place cheese ball on plastic wrap. Place cheese ball and plastic wrap in bowl, 5 to 6 inches in diameter. Place plastic wrap on cheese ball, then push second smaller bowl, 4 to 5 inches in diameter, into cheese in larger bowl. Refrigerate. Remove bowls and plastic wrap. Sprinkle 1 cup chopped fresh chives or other fresh herbs over cheese “nest.” Fill nest with cherry tomatoes, olives or assorted breadsticks.
  • Magical Holiday Tree:
  • Shape cheese ball mixture into pyramid shape on waxed paper or plastic wrap. Smooth sides with knife if necessary. Freeze pyramid about 20 minutes or until firm. Cut pyramid horizontally into thirds. Spread 3 tablespoons roasted red bell peppers (from 7-ounce jar), finely chopped and well drained, on bottom piece. Spread 3 tablespoons basil pesto on middle piece. Assemble tree; top with star cut from starfruit or yellow bell pepper. Serve immediately or wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate. 
  • Holiday Pinecone:
  • Shape cheese ball mixture into oval shape on waxed paper or plastic wrap. Press 1 package (6 ounces) sliced almonds (2 cups) into cheese ball. Sprinkle with 1/4 cup crushed dark rye crackers. Wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate. Garnish with fresh rosemary sprigs.

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